Arup and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group have published a guidebook for city authorities, developers and communities to help deliver net-zero at neighbourhood level.
A new guidebook sets out to underscore the importance of neighbourhood action in tackling the climate crisis and offers a framework and approach for delivering net zero.
Released by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and Arup, the guidebook is aimed at city authorities, developers and communities and can be applied in both new and existing neighbourhoods globally.
According to the authors, it provides a framework for “green and thriving” neighbourhoods, offering a pathway to net zero using 15-minute city principles.
The authors of the guidebook urge that action at a neighbourhood level is needed to accelerate progress to net zero, warning that targets otherwise risk being missed. Rather than waiting for a top-down approach from central governments, local projects can provide an urban test bed to trial innovative approaches, including in design and construction, in the use of technology and crucially in driving the positive engagement and participation of citizens and communities.
With communities around the world increasingly witnessing the impact of heatwaves or extreme flooding, there is a need for local strategies, policies and projects that provide opportunities for direct community participation in the fight against climate change. This, of course, needs to happen in parallel with the broader systemic change being advocated for on the international stage.
“As urban populations increase, we know that compact and connected communities are the best way to preserve global resources and fragile biodiversity,” said Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, mayor of Buenos Aires and vice-chair of C40 Cities.
“We must harness a model for low-carbon urban development that is human-scale, thriving and inclusive for our future; a model that promotes sustainable and equitable neighbourhoods that citizens and their leaders can strive for and then replicate it widely.”
“As urban populations increase, we know that compact and connected communities are the best way to preserve global resources and fragile biodiversity”
The guidebook sets out 10 key approaches to deliver green and thriving neighbourhoods and help create 15-minute cities. The 15-minute city urban planning principle encourages essential amenities within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from peoples’ homes, improving accessibility and inclusivity – which are central goals of the guidebook’s recommendations.
The 15-minute city concept has taken on renewed impetus during the Covid-19 pandemic, as so many people have relied on their local community and amenities.
The approaches in the guidebook aim to focus on the end-user – residents, workers and visitors – and draw on best practice thinking and successful projects in cities across the world, such as in Paris, San Francisco, and Nanjing. The types of actions the guidebook recommends include:
“Developing neighbourhood demonstrators that set a positive vision of cities’ low carbon future, can be a strong catalyst for change”
By beginning with the easy and low-cost interventions at a neighbourhood scale, the authors reckon cities can build momentum in support of city-wide emission reduction targets and attract funding and investment for larger-scale projects.
“The neighbourhood scale in a city offers some unique opportunities to accelerate towards net zero. Taking advantage of the balance between scale and agility, neighbourhood projects can pioneer new policy, trial innovative partnership arrangements, consider creative ways to increase citizen participation and test new technologies or products that can support the overarching vision,” added Anna König Jerlmyr, mayor of Stockholm and vice-chair of C40 Cities.
“Developing neighbourhood demonstrators that set a positive vision of cities’ low carbon future, can be a strong catalyst for change.”